Shakespeare Uncovered To Air On PBS Next Year

The BBC series Shakespeare Uncovered will come to PBS in the USA early next year, it has been announced.

During the PBS presentations this weekend at the 2012 TV Critics Association Press Tour, clips from Shakespeare Uncovered were screened, while co-producers THIRTEEN have published a press release confirming the proposed broadcast.

David Tennant was one of six actors and directors with a close association with Shakespeare who each presented an hour long documentary on some of the playwright's best loved works. David's episode on Hamlet

From the THIRTEEN website:

THIRTEEN’s Shakespeare Uncovered (w.t.), a Six-Film Series Telling the Stories Behind Shakespeare’s Greatest Plays, Coming to PBS in 2013
Joely Richardson, Ethan Hawke, Derek Jacobi, David Tennant, Jeremy Irons, and Trevor Nunn are hosts

In a unique series of six films coming to PBS in Winter/Spring 2013, Shakespeare Uncovered will combine history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passion of its celebrated  hosts – Ethan Hawke, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, Trevor Nunn, Joely Richardson, and David Tennant – to tell the story behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.
Produced by Richard Denton for Blakeway Productions & THIRTEEN for WNET in association with the BBC and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, each episode explores and reveals the extraordinary world and works of William Shakespeare and their still potent impact today. The films combine interviews with actors, directors, and scholars, along with visits to key locations, clips from some of the most celebrated film and television adaptations, and illustrative excerpts from the plays especially staged for the series at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
Behind every Shakespeare play there is a story: for instance, how he and his company dismantled their theatre and rowed it across the river Thames when the landlord cancelled their lease – and then staged Henry V for the first time. Shakespeare was in show business – drawing on historical sources, stealing ideas, bringing back popular characters, and picking up dramatic ideas from the news of the day.
Each program’s host has had deep personal experience of Shakespeare’s work; each relates not only the story of the plays themselves, but also the story of how they came to be written, how they have been performed, and how they have survived over 400 years.
The six episodes cover:

The Comedies:
Twelfth Night and As You Like It

Joely Richardson investigates (with her mother Vanessa Redgrave) the legacy of these two brilliant cross-dressing comedies and the great comic and romantic heroines created by Shakespeare in two perennially popular plays.

Ethan Hawke invites viewers to join him in his quest to play Shakespeare’s murderous Thane of Cawdor by uncovering the true story that served as inspiration, immersing himself in some of the most memorable and innovative productions and discovering Shakespeare’s extraordinary insights into the criminal mind.

Richard II
Derek Jacobi returns to a role he played 30 years ago, coaches actors at the Globe in aspects of the play, reveals why it could have cost Shakespeare his life – and shares some of the extraordinary modern political parallels within the play that still resonate as dictators are deposed. Also featured are notable excerpts from the upcoming Great Performances film adaptation starring Ben Whishaw andPatrick Stewart.

An acclaimed Hamlet himself in the RSC’s recent hit production (and another recent Great Performances production), David Tennant meets with fellow Hamlets, including superstar Jude Law, comparing notes on the titanic challenge of playing the most iconic of all roles. He also tries, alongside Simon Russell Beale and Ben Whishaw, to master the meaning of the play and the reason why it is considered the greatest of all Shakespeare’s works

The Histories
Henry IV and Henry V
Jeremy Irons (who stars as Henry IV in the upcoming new Great Performances film adaptation) uncovers the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s “History Plays,” from the facts of English history to the father-son drama that Shakespeare created. He discloses what Shakespeare’s sources were – and how he distorted them.  And he invites the viewer behind the scenes at the filming of some of the most important sequences in the new Great Performances adaptations of both plays, starring Irons and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal.

The Tempest
Trevor Nunn, the legendary director who has directed 30 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays and is determined to complete them all before he retires, takes us through the magical and mysterious world created in Shakespeare’s last complete play. He considers The Tempest Shakespeare’s farewell from the stage and relates the play to the playwright’s family life. Among the enthusiastic students of the play who contribute ideas about the role of Prospero is the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as Helen Mirren and director Julie Taymor, who collaborated on the most recent film adaptation – with Mirren playing a female Prospera.